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New Rules for Killing and Slaughter of Animals

27 December 2012

FINLAND - A new regulation, applied from 1 January 2013, will require more detailed planning and in-house control of killing of production animals, according to the Finnish Food Safety Authority, Evira.

The regulation permits more methods of killing than previous legislation. In the regulation, the term ‘killing’ also refers to the slaughter of animals.

The basic principle of animal killing is still that the animal is spared from unnecessary distress, pain and suffering at the time of killing and during the related procedures.

The new regulation imposes less precise measurement, number and time specifications for the permitted methods of killing animals than previous legislation.

Instead, it prescribes in more detail the specific requirements that must be met when applying a particular method and which methods are permitted for each animal species.

Operators involved in killing animals must plan the process in advance and prepare a written set of instructions for the arrangements, which must be followed.

This concerns slaughterhouses and the operators killing fur animals and hens that have stopped laying.

In addition, slaughterhouses must define and implement tighter supervision and control procedures.

A separate control procedure must be determined for each slaughter line, and the frequency of inspection must take into account the most important risk factors, such as the animal species, size and age, and the working practices of the staff.

Mass culls are always carried out under supervision by the authorities, and their reasons are related to e.g. national health, environment, animal health or welfare. In the future, an action plan and report must be prepared on mass culls.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is preparing amendments to the Animal Welfare Act and Decree and to the Ministry’s decisions on killing and slaughter of animals necessitated by the new regulation on animal killing. In conjunction with these amendments, the Ministry will prescribe the requirements for granting a competence certificate, required by the new regulation. More information on the amendments to the statutes is available on the MAF website in Finnish.

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